Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Peyton Saga

Where will Peyton Manning play next season? That's the question every football fan across the nation is asking themselves right now. That's the question every ESPN pundit has been trying to break down since the Colts locked up the #1 overall pick in January. Peyton is the most polarizing free agent since LeBron James. And we're all awaiting his Decision.

There are few frontrunners in this one. I have heard people telling me that Peyton's gonna play anywhere from Miami to Minnesota, but it's yet to be seen what Peyton himself wants to do. Early on, the favorite was Washington. Now, Miami's fans are making a big push through a PeytonToMiami campaign to try to lure the QB. Here's a breakdown of all 32 teams and their likelihood of landing Peyton Manning:

Arizona Cardinals - One of the likely destinations that has been thrown out there, the Cardinals would be a good fit. They have a clear #1 receiver and have made it to the Super Bowl before with an aging veteran quarterback.
Atlanta Falcons - Next to no chance Peyton lands here. The Falcons have a legit QB already in Matt Ryan.
Baltimore Ravens - Joe Flacco is not an elite quarterback, but he has done a decent job. I don't see the Ravens landing Manning when more desperate teams will likely offer more money. Yahoo! Sports did have an article detailing the Manning-to-Baltimore move here.
Buffalo Bills - Ryan Fitzpatrick is an average quarterback and the Bills have the money but for some reason I don't think Manning would want to end his career in Buffalo.
Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton just burst onto the scene. Don't expect the Panthers to make a move on Peyton right now.
Chicago Bears - The Bears are happy with Jay Cutler at the moment, I think. They do have the money and the talent to lure Peyton, although they lack a true #1 receiver.
Cincinnati Bengals - No way. This team made the playoffs last year with a stud rookie quarterback. No need for Peyton here.
Cleveland Browns - The Browns were rumored to be in trade discussions with the Rams for the #2 overall pick and the rights to RGIII and didn't get it, so they could be in the Manning discussion now, but I just don't see that happening. They'll probably have to settle for Ryan Tannehill in the draft.
Dallas Cowboys - I laugh at the thought of Peyton as a Cowboy; the Cowboys are loyal to Tony Romo as their quarterback for the next few years.
Denver Broncos - Peyton did meet with GM John Elway this week and this seems like a possible destination but how would Bronco Nation react to the benching of Tim Tebow?
Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford is currently the quarterback of the Detroit Lions, enough said.
Green Bay Packers - Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the game right now. I don't think they'd take a chance on Peyton.
Houston Texans - Surprisingly a possible destination. Peyton would remain in a division he is familiar with and have the opportunity to face his successor, Andrew Luck, twice a year. The Texans have a great offense and a much improved defense under Wade Phillips.
Indianapolis Colts - Seeing as they just parted ways with him, this is the least likely destination for Manning in the NFL.
Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars do not have enough talent outside of running back to have a chance at Peyton.
Kansas City Chiefs - I can definitely visualize Peyton playing in a city close to Indy with a rabid fanbase and enough talent to have a chance.
Miami Dolphins - This team is probably the most likely suitor for Manning, with a solid offensive line and a nice group at the offensive skill positions. The PeytonToMiami movement is gaining steam and the fans definitely want him.
Minnesota Vikings - This is actually a possibility, but the Vikings do not have that much money and would have to cut some of their own talent to make way for Peyton. Plus, they have their future star, or so they hope, in Christian Ponder.
New England Patriots - No.
New Orleans Saints - The Saints are reportedly having trouble getting a deal done with Drew Brees and I can't help but think that if Brees holds out in protest of his franchise tag, the Saints would look to Peyton for their quarterback need.
New York Giants - The G-men just won the Super Bowl with Peyton's brother so nothing's happening here.
New York Jets - The Jets were supposed to be one of the suitors but they just re-signed Mark Sanchez and seem to be sticking with him. Furthermore, I don't think Rex Ryan would give the same privileges to Manning as he had in Indy.
Oakland Raiders - The new front office just restructured Carson Palmer's deal so the Raiders seem all set at quarterback.
Philadelphia Eagles - This could be a fit in terms of talent and coaching, but the Eagles already have an excellent QB in Michael Vick and there are other teams that want Manning more.
Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steelers are already over the cap and have Big Ben playing QB; this is probably the second least likely destination after the Colts.
San Diego Chargers - Phillip Rivers had a pitiful year but there's no way this team goes after Peyton.
San Francisco 49ers - If the 49ers are unable to sign Alex Smith, San Fran looks like an attractive destination. However, Jim Harbaugh is a coach who likes to be in charge and Peyton may be looking for a place where he can essentially be the coach like he was in Indianapolis.
Seattle Seahawks - If Miami signs Matt Flynn and reunites coach Joe Philbin with one of his old QBs, then Seattle instantly becomes the frontrunner. It looks to me that between the Dolphins and Seahawks, one team gets Manning and the other gets Flynn.
St. Louis Rams - A team that passed on RGIII is not looking to sign Peyton Manning.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - They have the money, but can they put together an attractive offer roster-wise for Peyton?
Tennessee Titans - For a team that has Matt Hasselbeck as the veteran and Jake Locker as the future star, the Titans have had a lot of Manning buzz surrounding them. Not sure about this one. The Titans are set at QB for now.
Washington Redskins - Once the favorites, the 'Skins are content with Robert Griffin III and are essentially out of the race for Peyton.

There you have it. The two frontrunners to land Peyton Manning are Seattle and Miami, in my opinion. However, there are plenty of other under-the-radar teams waiting to talk with Peyton's agent about a possible deal, especially Arizona, Denver, Kansas City, and Houston. The Redskins are out of the running now, so this race just got a little more interesting.

Where do you think Peyton will go?

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